Complaints policy

Purpose of complaints policy

This policy sets out the processes and procedures applied by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) when receiving and dealing with complaints.

The purpose of this Complaints Policy is to outline the scope of complaints that we can investigate and comment on, and the manner in which your complaint will be responded to. 

Our commitment to complaint handling

We are committed to following the below principles when handling a complaint:

  • Accessibility We ensure that information on how and where to make a complaint is easy to find. Our staff will assist you in navigating the complaints process and where appropriate, assist you to make the complaint. 
  • Efficiency – We notify you when your complaint has been received. We will make every effort to provide a response to you within 20 business days. If a response is not provided to you within 20 business days, we will keep you informed of the progress of your complaint where appropriate. 
  • Fairness – We ensure a timely, accessible, and fair process for the lodgement and management of complaints. Every complaint will be addressed in an equitable, objective and impartial manner. 
  • Transparency – We provide explanations and reasons for decisions about complaints. 
  • Confidentiality – All complaints are treated confidentially. Your complaint will not be placed on the proceeding file. 
  • Accountability – We value complaints and feedback as key to improving our services. We will use the feedback and learnings from complaints to inform us of future improvement opportunities. Complaints data collected will be reported internally to assist VCAT to identify and address issues.  

Our responsibilities

We are committed to providing service excellence by being approachable, responsive, accessible, informal, timely, fair, impartial, consistent, professional, and efficient. We take all complaints seriously. 

While we encourage you to raise your concerns with registry staff members and their managers or supervisors first, nothing in this policy prevents a person from making a complaint directly to VCAT’s Complaints Registrar. 

The Complaints Registrar may refer your complaint back to registry staff to address where appropriate. 

Upon investigating a complaint, if we reasonably suspect corruption is occurring or has occurred, we are obligated to inform the Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission (IBAC) in accordance with section 57 of the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission Act 2011. The Principal Registrar will determine whether we should report to IBAC. 

What we can investigate

Type of complaintCan we investigate?
Quality of an action taken, or service provided by staff membersü
Conduct or behaviour of a staff memberü
Delay or failure to meet our service requirements ü
Complaints about a VCAT member's behaviourü
Complaints about a VCAT order or decision of a VCAT memberû


We also accept feedback about staff and members or VCAT in general that do not require investigation. When you email your feedback to , please specify in the subject line that you are submitting feedback only. You will receive an acknowledgement of your email and your feedback will be retained for future training and improvement opportunities.

Who can make a complaint?

Any member of the public or group of people (including companies or public sector agencies) can make a complaint. 

We can also accept complaints from those who support or act on behalf of a party to a proceeding. These include family members, friends, advocates, and support workers. 

How to make a complaint?

Where possible, a complaint should be made by email or post addressed to the Complaints Registrar.


Postal address: 
VCAT Complaints Registrar  
55 King Street 
Melbourne VIC 3000 

For more information, visit 55 King Street, Melbourne VIC 3000, or call 1300 018 228.

Please note that it is inappropriate to send a complaint directly to a member.
Complaints about members should be sent to the Complaints Registrar. Use our complaints form.

The complaints process

We take a three-tiered approach to resolving complaints: 

  1. Frontline resolution: where VCAT staff receive a complaint, they will assess it, and where possible and appropriate, resolve it.
    If the VCAT staff member cannot resolve your complaint, they will escalate your complaint to their manager.
  2. Investigation by the Complaints Registrar: if the manager cannot resolve your concerns, they will refer it to the Complaints Registrar for investigation and response. The Complaints Registrar will look through your file and any supporting materials you have provided. The Complaints Registrar might speak to the staff involved and their manager and propose a solution to address your issue. 
  3. Internal review by the Principal Registrar: if you are unhappy with the outcome of the investigation by the Complaints Registrar, you can request an internal review. The review will be conducted by the Principal Registrar or their delegate. 

What response can I expect if I complain?

In our response to your complaint, we will: 

  • Advise you of the outcome;
  • Explain the steps taken by us to investigate or resolve the complaint (if applicable); and
  • Provide you with referrals and suggest next steps (where appropriate).

If your complaint is proven, we may also:

  • Review internal procedures and make appropriate changes;
  • Advise you of action plans we put in place/intend to put in place to address the issue; or
  • Provide an apology (if appropriate).

Please understand we cannot provide monetary compensation regardless of whether or not a complaint is proven. This is because VCAT has no power under the law to do so. 

Complaints about a member

If you make a complaint about a member, the Complaints Registrar will investigate and report the complaint to our President. 

If you are unsatisfied with VCAT’s response or, if you do not wish to make a complaint of this nature to VCAT, you may make a complaint directly to the Judicial Commission Victoria. 

The Judicial Commission Victoria is an independent complaint handling body. It has power to investigate complaints about the conduct and capacity of judicial members and VCAT members. In some instances, the Commission may refer a complaint back to VCAT for appropriate action. More information on how to make a complaint to the Commission is available here

Complaints about a VCAT decision

We cannot investigate complaints about a VCAT member’s decision including the member’s decision on how to run a hearing, or what the member took into consideration when making a decision. 

Once an order is made, no other VCAT member or staff can change the order. If you disagree with a VCAT member’s decision in a proceeding or if you believe you have not been afforded procedural fairness, you have the option to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. You should seek legal advice immediately as time limitations apply.

You can contact the Self-Represented Litigants Coordinator at the Supreme Court for further information: 

Phone: 03 8600 2031

Please note that the Judicial Commission cannot investigate the correctness of a decision made by a VCAT member. 

Anonymous complaints and feedback

If you do not provide your name or contact details along with your complaint, this will be considered to be an anonymous complaint.
We manage these types of complaints in line with the Complaints Policy. If there is insufficient information in the complaint for us to identify where to direct a response, no response will be provided. 

Comments where no response or action is sought will be treated as feedback and no reply will be provided. 

Internal review

If you are unhappy with the outcome of an investigation conducted by the Complaints Registrar, you can request a review from the Principal Registrar.

The Principal Registrar or their delegate will investigate the complaint, the evidence you submitted, and the Complaint Registrar’s response to you, and provide you with a review outcome in accordance with this Complaints Policy.  

The outcome of the review by the Principal Registrar or their delegate is final, and no further review will be conducted by VCAT.


When you lodge a complaint with VCAT, your personal information will be collected. This information is stored on our system and is only accessible by certain staff on a need-to-know basis.

Your personal information is mainly used to assist us investigate and respond to your complaint.

Please note that your information may be disclosed in a de-identified format to be included in our internal and external reports, and for any other purpose in connection with VCAT’s performance of functions under the VCAT Act or any other enabling enactment. 

Generally, all complaints and responses are kept separate from the proceeding file and are retained for a period in accordance with public record keeping guidelines. 

Reporting on VCAT performance

We report on our complaint handling in our annual report. We publish the number of complaints received, and detail any systemic issues and any service improvements made due to complaints received. 

Managing unreasonable complaint conduct

We consider the substance of all complaints; however, we will not continue to investigate or respond to complaints where we consider that the conduct of the complainant is unreasonable. 

Unreasonable conduct may include (but is not limited to): 

  • excessive or persistent repetition of an issue; 
  • inappropriate or unreasonable demands or expectations; 
  • abusive, trivial or vexatious behaviour; or 
  • persistent contact with VCAT whilst a complaint is being investigated or after an outcome has been provided. 

Our zero tolerance policy

We expect VCAT staff to communicate to you in a professional, courteous, and respectful manner. We expect you to do the same when communicating to VCAT staff.

VCAT has zero tolerance for aggressive, abusive, threatening, and offensive behaviour. 

If your behaviour is aggressive, abusive, threatening or offensive, VCAT may take necessary action to ensure the well-being of VCAT staff and members and, may report abusive and threatening behaviour to Victoria Police.